Frederick County Commissioners announced a balanced FY 2015 Recommended Operating Budget that closed a $13 million deficit that was originally presented in the base budget on December 19, 2013.
From Frederick County’s news release,
At that time, the Budget Committee proposed using $7.5 million in reserves to reduce the unfunded deficit to $5.5 million, including $1 million of excess fund balance in the Workers Compensation Fund and $6.5 million from the Fleet Fund.
Board President Blaine Young commented, “As a result of the hard work of our Budget Committee and our county directors, we are pleased to take the next step in our budget process with the FY2015 Recommended Operating Budget. We have filled a $13 million hole in next year’s budget, avoided any cuts to services or our employees, and best of all, we are presenting a balanced budget to the citizens of Frederick County. Instead of reducing the deficit by making cuts that would affect our citizens, we went back to our directors and they came up with almost one million dollars in additional savings. Other notable savings resulted from the use of private services after employees retired and savings in equipment replacement and maintenance costs.
In presenting the FY2015 Recommended Operating Budget to the board, Budget Officer Regina Howell explained that operating revenues for FY2015 have increased $1.3 million from the Base Budget. She said that this is partially offset by the elimination of the proposed $1 million funding from the Workers Compensation Reserve that was transferred to Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center in FY2014 to cover the write-offs of uncollectible accounts receivables. The most significant adjustments in the recommended budget are in the following areas:
- Sale of Board of Education (BOE) surplus properties that resulted in an increase of one-time revenues of $2 million.
- Increased income tax estimate by .5%, equating to $881,800.
- Increased recordation tax estimate by $512,431.
- Decreased property tax by $250,000 for expansion of the senior property tax credit.
Expenditures for FY2015 are estimated at $518.8 million, a $3.3 million decrease from the Base Budget. There was a decrease of $7.3 million in on-going operating expenses that were partially offset by $1.7 million in additional funding requests (appeals) and a one-time $2 million transfer to the BOE. Highlights include:
- Reduced Debt Service estimate by $2 million for timing of bond issue.
- Revised Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) actuarial contribution resulted in $1.5 million in savings.
- Revised pension actuarial contribution resulted in $1.4 million in savings.
- Voluntary departmental reductions resulted in almost $1 million in savings.
- Retirement incentive and revised reclassification estimate reduced expenses by $1 million.
- BOE pass-through appropriation for sale proceeds of surplus properties increased expenses by $2 million (offset in one-time revenue).
- Additional funding requests (appeals) increased expenses by $1.7 million.
The FY2015 proposed operating budget is scheduled to be finalized on April 15 and released on April 18, 2014.